Thursday, March 12, 2009

home alone...

Yesterday I left Samuel home alone for the very first time while I went 2 miles down the road to pick Naomi up from preschool. I don't really know when you're supposed to let your kid stay home alone, but when he asked if he could stay home and finish his homework, I realized that when I was his age, my brother and I left for school by ourselves and came home to an empty house and we were fine. Oh, also we hiked ten miles each way to school in the freezing Southern California snow, but it built character and we're better people for it.

And do you know why?

Because we were Latchkey Kids.
Does anyone ever call kids that anymore?

"Okay," I told him. "You can, but here are the rules..."

"I can??? Really? Do you think I can start babysitting for money, too?"

"Um, not quite yet. Let's try this first."

So I gave him the rundown--"don't answer the door, don't use the microwave, oven, or toaster, don't touch my computer, and if someone calls, don't tell them you're alone in the house--tell them your mom can't come to the phone right now."

"Okay, okay," he said, trying to hide his excitement. "I can't believe you're going to let me do this! I'm going to get all my homework done!"

But when I get in the car, I think, oh my gosh, this is totally crazy. I just left my eight year old home alone and I'm driving away from him. While he is alone. In our house. With no parents. Or anyone.
So when I get to the end of our block, I call him up.

"Hi, is your mom home?" I ask, trying to disguise my voice.
"Um, she can't come to the phone right now," he says. "Who is this?"
"One of her friends," I say. "Can you tell her that Shelly called?"
"MOM! I know it's you," he says trying not to laugh. "Why did you do that?"
"Just testing you," I said. "Are you scared?"
"Nope, because you've only been gone for about two minutes."
"Okay," I say. "Call me if you get scared."

Two minutes later, the phone rings...

"Hey, Mom," Samuel says on the other end.
"Hey, Buddy, did you get scared?"
"NO!" He sounds disgusted. "But I was wondering, can I make a sandwich?"
"Oh. Sure. Just don't use the toaster."
"Okay, thanks," he says and hangs up.

Two minutes later, the phone rings again...

"Hi, can I play Wii?"
"No, do your homework."

On my way back home with Naomi, the phone rings again.

"How do you spell 'radioactive?'"

"Hold on," I tell him, "I'm pulling in the driveway. I'll help you when I'm inside." Of the twenty minutes I was gone, we were on the phone for at least ten of them.

Samuel is waiting for us at the door and he looks elated and completely proud of himself.

"Isn't that great that you can leave me home alone now?" he asks.

We're off for a big back country cross-country ski adventure, or something like that, for the weekend. I actually have very little idea what we're doing except that we're cross country skiing uphill for at least four or so miles and then staying in a place with no electricity or running water. And the bathrooms burned down last month. As well as the fire-heated sauna. And I'm not sure how the kids are going to deal with the ski adventure, but I'm sure we'll get some cute pics of them in the pulk or on their skiis, even if they don't manage to do either for very long.
But the good thing is we're going with friends. And a lot of liquor.


Becky said...

That is hilarious. I left Ben alone ONCE about 6 months ago and I rather not do that again thank you. The feeling of DRIVING away from your child. Home. Alone. is well... gross.

Have fun on your trip! HA HA HA! If anything it will be good blog material.

PegLeg said...

I can remember the first time my parents left me home alone and it was a similar situation where they just had to run a quick errand. When they left they said, "Stay here and don't go anywhere." Of course I took that literally and stood in the exact same spot I was in when they said that until they came home. When they got back they asked why I was still standing there and of course my response was because they told me not to go anywhere.

Shannon said...

Cross country skis and "uphill" don't sound like they mix well. But maybe that's just me.

Becky said...

Shannon, she was raised in Southern California. She doesn't know... ;-)

Fiona said...

I loved this blog, Amy, especially that you tried to disguise your voice. Too funny.

amy said...

Hey Shannon (and Becky),
Apparently some people love cross country skiing uphill for miles and miles. I'm pretty convinced, though, that there are better ways to climb a mountain...

Marketing Mama said...

This was such a great story!!! I also love that you called and disguised your voice, I totally laughed at that. I also love that he wasn't allowed to use the toaster! :)